Meet The Team

/Meet The Team
Meet The Team 2018-05-10T20:29:50+00:00
Ward Blanchard
Ward BlanchardLCAS, CSI, MA, Founder/CEO
Nearly ten years ago, Ward Blanchard found his life’s passion: working in the field of mental health and addiction. Growing up in a small coastal town on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Ward’s desire to help others was cultivated through the small-town values of service, hard work and volunteering.

Ward’s professional career began in business as he represented the third generation to work at Kellogg Supply Company, a building supply and lumber chain founded by his grandfather. Working in an established family company provided Ward with the opportunity to understand the value of relationships, communication and integrity. Although Ward thoroughly enjoyed working in business and with his family’s company, the field of psychology and the “helping profession” were careers always close to his heart.

Coachella Valley in Southern California provided Ward an environment where he could continue furthering his education while working alongside some of the world’s most well-known addiction and mental health treatment centers, such as The Betty Ford Center, Michael’s House Treatment Center and Foundations Recovery Network. Ward moved to Palm Desert, California and went back to school in 2008 to receive his master’s degree in psychology, marriage and family therapy. Specializing in addiction, Ward obtained his advanced addiction counseling education and credentials through the California Association of Alcohol and Drug Counselors (CADC-II), which required a minimum of 8,000 hours of supervised counseling experience. Ward is a Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist (LCAS) and has worked in all facets of addiction treatment: interventions, admissions, business development, therapy, continuing care and operations.

Allison Christie
Allison ChristieMBA, MA Chief Operating Officer
Allison Christie is from Chicago, IL. She joined Blanchard & Associates in April 2016. Allison graduated from Middlebury Institute of International Studies Fisher Business School with a Master’s Degree in International Business Administration. After living overseas for twenty years she moved to Charlotte, North Carolina and decided to follow her passion and enter the field of Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders. Allison has a keen interest in supporting families and is a Certified ARISE® Interventionist I (CAI-I).
Kimbrely Heizer
Kimbrely HeizerLCSW, SAP, Chief Strategy Officer
Kim joined The Blanchard Institute in April 2018. Kim has worked in the behavioral health, psychiatric, addiction field for 28 years. Prior to her Chief Strategy Officer role with The Blanchard Institute, she worked as EAP Manager with a corporate organization in Charlotte, NC and had a private practice in Behavioral Health for 8 years. Her past work experience includes Inpatient and Outpatient Clinical positions in Mental health, Addictions, ICU, Med/Surg, ER, business development, sales & marketing, Human Resources & IT as well as the operational side of four start-up programs.
George L Raad, MD
George L Raad, MDM.D. Medical Director
Dr. George Raad has treated over 28,000 moderate to high acuity patients during his thirty-plus year career as Medical Director for an urban inpatient medical detoxification program. Dr. Raad has been innovative in his response to changing patients and changing drugs in the substance use disorder field, and he has earned high patient satisfaction scores during his tenure.

He is the past recipient of the prestigious North Carolina Jody Kellerman award for excellence in the field of substance abuse treatment. Dr. Raad is a much sought-after trainer and expert in the field of substance use disorders. He has presented to many varied professional groups and has appeared on numerous television reports on addiction. He has a private family medicine practice, a concierge medical practice and a research facility in Charlotte, NC

Sydney Estes
Sydney EstesLCSW-A, LCAS-A, MSW, Outpatient Therapist
Sydney Estes was born and raised in Rock Hill, South Carolina. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Clemson University and received her Master of Social Work from Winthrop University. Sydney is currently a Licensed Clinical Social Worker Associate. She has been working in the Rock Hill community and the surrounding areas for the last few years, providing services in substance abuse counseling, case management, clinical assessments, and individual counseling. Sydney’s passion is to walk along-side those in need, giving grace and encouraging self-acceptance. She enjoys working with individuals while incorporating a family focused approach. Outside of being a counselor, Sydney enjoys getting the opportunity to practice self-care by traveling, running, working out and spending time with her dog Millie.
Judy Goodwin
Judy GoodwinDirector of Admissions
Judy Goodwin brings 24 years of knowledge and experience working as an Admissions Coordinator in the field and is well connected to the community and behavioral health industry. She has a volunteer history working with the Union County Substance Abuse Task Force, NC MADD, Union County Public Schools and various community organizations.

Judy can often be heard telling others “this is not a job … it is a calling.” Judy is usually the first point of contact for our clients and welcomes the opportunity to help those seeking help.

Melody Amendola
Melody AmendolaFinancial Coordinator
Melody Amendola is a dynamic leader whose background encompasses over 15 years as a senior financial executive coupled with an additional 13 years within public sector managing the financial affairs of one of the largest endowments in the greater Charlotte area. She has managed staffs of over 200 employees, yet treats everyone like her best friend. Her passion is making a difference in lives of others and that passion drives her encounters with clients and vendors alike.
Ann “Annie” Fongheiser
Ann “Annie” FongheiserCCS, LCAS, CAC-II, MAC, Outpatient Therapist
Ann Fongheiser has more than 20 years experiences working in the field of addiction and education. Annie received an undergraduate degree from the University of South Carolina in business and psychology, a Master of Liberal Arts with an emphasis in psychology from Winthrop University, and a Master of Science in clinical psychology from Capella University. She has worked with the University of Phoenix for 13 years serving as Lead Faculty for the College of Social Sciences for the past 6 years. She is a Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist, a Master Addiction Counselor, and a Certified Clinical Supervisor. Annie has been responsible for the growth of several clinical programs and business development in a variety of settings including; hospitals, outpatient, and not-for-profit organizations.
Samantha Hampson
Samantha HampsonLCSW-A, LCAS, ICAADC, Outpatient Therapist
Samantha Hampson was born and raised in Europe but has lived in the Carolinas for the last 15 years. She has been providing Mental Health and Substance Abuse services in the Carolinas for the last few years. Samantha obtained her Bachelors of Science in Psychology from the College of Charleston and her Master of Social Work from the University of South Carolina. Samantha has experience in emergency medical social work, mental health treatment with adolescents, and treating adults in outpatient substance abuse programs. Samantha is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker Associate, a Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist, and an Internationally Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor. Samantha’s approach to treatment is helping individuals find hope and motivation for life in recovery. Samantha believes that involving the individual in their treatment plan is vital in developing investment in recovery and aids in fostering trust between therapist and client.
Megan Faulkner
Megan FaulknerMS, Office Administrator
Megan Faulkner began working in Public Health in 2003 after earning a Masters’ of Science degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. In both North and South Carolina, she tackled a wide range of community-level health issues ranging from environmental carcinogens to childhood obesity to suicide prevention. As a trained volunteer, Megan answered crisis calls for the South Carolina 2-1-1 Hotline using active listening and problem-solving skills to find quality help for callers in need. After several years at home with her three small children, Megan now enjoys her role as one of The Blanchard Institute’s Office Administrators.
Shelley Wood
Shelley WoodOffice Administrator
Shelley Wood holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from UNC Charlotte. Previously in Financial Services, Personal Training and most recently Creative Arts, Shelley is excited to shift her focus back to Behavioral Health at The Blanchard Institute. As one of our Office Administrators, she is delighted to welcome our clients as they arrive at Blanchard with a warm smile and a caring heart.
Gibbs
GibbsTherapy Dog
Gibbs the Therapy dog, born in raised in Southern California, moved to Charlotte, North Carolina in 2014 to continue to cultivate her passion of delivering cuteness, comfort, and adorability to anyone and everyone she encounters. Gibbs was drawn into the field of substance abuse and behavioral health after her own personal recovery from a process addiction with chewing shoes and furniture.

She understands how such an addiction truly is a family disease—impacting the whole family. Gibbs is intelligent, focused, enjoys attention and being pet behind the ears. Gibbs received formal education through The Dog Knowledge Obedience School of Charlotte, NC. She graduated with spectacular mediocracy in obedience, but excelled in the subjects of advanced charm, good looks, and tennis-ball catching. She loves riding horses, a good hot dog, listening to Dave Matthews Band, is a documentary film enthusiast, and is avid about sharing global warming articles on her Facebook.

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This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.